“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thank you L. Paul Bremer III. Iraq is falling to pieces.

Lewis Paul Bremer made the single worst decision and the greatest act of stupidity when he fired the Iraq military en masse. Let me refresh your memory.

Before the war, President Bush approved a plan that would have put several hundred thousand Iraqi soldiers on the U.S. payroll and kept them available to provide security, repair roads and prepare for unforeseen postwar tasks. That was the plan. It was logical and sensible.

But that project was stopped abruptly in late May, 2003 by L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, who ordered the demobilization of Iraq's entire army, including largely apolitical conscripts. He talked about an eventual Iraq security force of 20,000. (I did not forget a zero.)

Now I never liked a guy who would wear work boots and a suit when he was not working on a construction site. It is too affected. I never much cared for someone that does the cute first initial, second name routine. So I never was a fan from the moment I learned of him, but I remember the afternoon when I heard on the radio, a report about this decision. The announcement and decision was stunning. How it was justified and sanctioned would make an interesting read.

It is the single decision that has probably cost more US casualties and more chaos than any other of many bad decisions. Seven months after the fall of Baghdad, a single Iraqi army battalion existed to reinforce inadequate and overstretched U.S.-led occupation troops.

Bremer reversed himself a month later, but by then the occupation had lost time, momentum and credibility among former soldiers and their families. The Iraq army was broken and gone. Any fool would have realized the importance of stability over doctrine, not L. Paul Bremner. This morning there are more dark consequences of the Bremer decision.

'100 kidnapped' from Baghdad ministry
Tuesday, 14 Nov 2006 09:35

As many as 150 people kidnapped from Baghdad research institute
- Calgary Sun, Canada

Witness says Iraqi police watched sectarian kidnap
- Reuters AlertNet, UK
Iraqi police watched sectarian kidnap: witness
- Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates

Up to 100 people have been kidnapped from a government building in Baghdad, reports from Iraq suggest. Details are sketchy but it appears as though a group of gunmen dressed as Iraqi police arrived at the higher education ministry building in the centre of the Iraqi capital.

The Reuters news agency reports that a ministry spokeswoman said that the gunmen separated the women from the men and abducted the latter group. It is believed that those kidnapped included ministry employees and visitors, as well as about 25 scientists.

Police spokesman Major Mahir Hamad told the Associated Press news agency that a group of gunmen dressed in commando uniforms arrived at the office in Karradah in about 20 vehicles at about 09:30 local time (06:30 GMT) this morning.

He said the hostages were forced into the vehicles at gunpoint and driven away. Roads had been sealed as part of the raid.

Karradah is a mixed neighbourhood of Sunni and Shia Muslims but tension between Baghdad's different communities has been a feature of the recent violence in the city.

Shia militia forces have previously used forged IDs and interior ministry uniforms when carrying out kidnappings.


  1. I read his book and it was a tough slog through some really difficult prose.

    First of all, let's talk about self affected. Not only is his actual name L.Paul Bremer, but all his friends call him Jerry.

    WTF? I don't trust guys with a first initial instead of a name. That faggot P. Allen Smith did "flowers" on the weather channel years ago. He's one of the reasons I threw out my TV.

    Next, did he just like wake up one day and decide that he wanted to be called Jerry? Or did his parents come to him and say: we named you in honor of some near dead relation in the hope getting named in their will. But we really don't like the name so we're gonna call you Jerry.

    As for the Army, I agree it was not the best choice. Had the US military been left to vet these guys some units would have joined us intact. Bing west points this out in No True Glory. Yes, many of the officers were useless public tit sucking sycophants. But many of the units would have joined and gladly, if only to keep a paycheck coming.

    This was a wrong choice as was the intensive de ba athification efforts that Jerry did little to prevent.

    Finally I despise the man for his support of Adnan Pachaci. Pachaci was among the loudest to complain about Fallujah one. He brought us the "collective punishment" meme. Because of his tireless propaganda our resolve waivered. The net result was what Bing West calls Grendl's lair. A sunni inspired hell hole featuring among others the Zarkmeister.

    How Bremer could honor that black souled theif escapes me. Bremer got played by the cynical Arabs.

    Shocking, I know.

  2. 2164th wrote:

    Before the war, President Bush approved a plan that would have put several hundred thousand Iraqi soldiers on the U.S. payroll and kept them available to provide security, repair roads and prepare for unforeseen postwar tasks. That was the plan. It was logical and sensible.

    But hiring the natives for nation-building was direct competition to Halliburton's no-bid contracts. And this low-intensity conflict (guaranteed by the practice of only having 140,000 troops in the theater and sending only 10% of those out every night as targets) has also proved quite lucrative for the purposes of soaking the American taxpayer with overpriced contracts. Hope they all made a nice nest egg.

  3. Casting about for someone to blame, when the buck stops at Mr Bush's desk.
    Feckless, that is the word to discribe replacing the first Governor General, Jay Garner, on 7 May 03.

    At the time I thought that Mr Bremmers "antiterror" resume made him an uotstanding candidate for the job. 20/20 hindsight proved me oh so wrong, on that account.

    If we had trained an Exile Copps, they could have been slid into the command slots of the remaining Shia conscripts. As I recall from memory, though, the Iraqi Army had melted away, it had already, for the most part, dispersed by 15 May '03.
    The looting had been accomplixhed and the trail to insurrection already blazed.

    The Military itself failed in those early days of Occupation. Recall Mr Rumsfeld telling US it was not an Insurgency, that the attacks were militarily insignifgant, either echoing his Generals or Leading by Example.

    Both scenarios have been reported.

  4. Rat, the army melted away because they did not want to die. A call for them to return to barracks and pick up a US pay check would have re-grouped them. What should have been obvious is that if you remove authority, something will replace it. Nature abhors a vacuum and the loss of an Iraqi anything was rapidly filled with entrepreners, read militias and stree thugs.

    Worse yet, Bush had approved a sensible plan of re-grouping the army. All history is second guessing.

  5. Then, duece, Mr Bush also supported and approved the "Plan" not to recall them. Did he not?

    Authority can be delegated
    Responsibility cannot.

    First lesson at Primary NCO Course.
    Mr Bush should have attended, he'd have learned something about the Military that obviously he missed at flight school.

    I recall a FOX segment of a year or so ago, a Sunni General had been recommissioned, he recalled his troops. They came back and took on the Insurgents. This could have been accomplished at any time, granted.
    But to blame Mr Bremmer for the militaries continued failure at handing over Authority or Responsibility to the Iraqi, two years after Mr Bremmer left, is to misplace the blame. He may have made the original "bad decision" but it has gained legs, without him.

    He did leave Iraq on 28 Jun 04, well more than 2 years ago.

  6. DR , you are correct in the sense that a CEO is always in the end, responsible. He allowed the decision to go forward. That is fair enough. There also should have been some military officers that resigned over the decision.

    Some people were ahead of the curve. Here is what the much maligned (including by me) Robert Fisk had to say in September 2003:

    September 9, 2003
    Meet the New Iraqi Strongman: Paul Bremer
    Thugs in Business Suits


    Paul Bremer's taste in clothes symbolises "the new Iraq" very well. He wears a business suit and combat boots. As the proconsul of Iraq, you might have thought he'd have more taste. But he is a famous "anti-terrorism" expert who is supposed to be rebuilding the country with a vast army of international companies-most of them American, of course-and creating the first democracy in the Arab world. Since he seems to be a total failure at the "anti-terrorist" game-50 American soldiers killed in Iraq since President George Bush declared the war over is not exactly a blazing success-it is only fair to record that he is making a mess of the "reconstruction" bit as well.

    In theory, the news is all great. Oil production is up to one million barrels a day; Baghdad airport is preparing to re-open; every university in Iraq is functioning again ; the health services are recovering rapidly; and mobile phones have made their first appearance in Baghdad. There's an Iraqi Interim Council up and hobbling.

    But there's a kind of looking-glass fantasy to all these announcements from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the weasel-worded title with which the American-led occupation powers cloak their decidedly undemocratic and right-wing credentials. Take the oil production figures. Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, the US commander in Iraq, even chose to use these statistics in his "great day for Iraq" press conference last week, the one in which he triumphantly announced that 200 soldiers in Mosul had killed the sons of Saddam rather than take them prisoner. But Lt-Gen Sanchez was talking rubbish. Although oil production was indeed standing at 900,000 barrels per day in June (albeit 100,000bpd less than the Sanchez version), it fell this month to 750,000. The drop was caused by power cuts--which are going to continue for much of the year-and export smuggling. The result? Iraq, with the world's second-highest reserves of oil, is now importing fuel from other oil producing countries to meet domestic demands. Then comes Baghdad airport. Sure, it's going to re-open. But it just happens that the airport, with its huge American military base and brutal US prison camp, comes under nightly grenade and mortar attack. No major airline would dream of flying its aircraft into the facility in these circumstances. So, weird things are happening. The Iraqis are told, for example, that the first flights will be run by "Transcontinental Airlines" (a name oddly similar to the CIA's transport airline in Vietnam), which is reported to be a subsidiary of "US Airlines" and the only flight will be between Baghdad and-wait for it-the old East Berlin airport of Schonefeld. A British outfit calling itself "Mayhill Aviation" has printed advertisements in the Iraqi press saying that it intends to fly a Boeing 747 once a week from Gatwick to Basra, a route which suggests that it is going to be British military personnel and their families who end up using the plane.

    Open universities are good news. And few would blame Bremer for summarily firing the 436 professors who were members of the Baath party. In the same vein, the CPA annulled the academic system whereby student party members would automatically receive higher grades. This is real de-Baathification. But then it turned out that there wouldn't be enough qualified professors to go round. Quite a number of the 436 were party men in name only and received their degrees at foreign universities. So, at Mustansiriyah University, for example, the very same purged professors were re-hired after filling out forms routinely denouncing the Baath party. Bremer seems to have a habit of reversing his own decisions; having triumphantly announced that he'd sacked the entire Iraqi army, he was humiliatingly forced to put them back on rations in case they all decided to attack US soldiers in Iraq.

    Health services? Well, yes, the new Iraqi health service is being encouraged to rehabilitate the country's hospitals and clinics. But a mysterious American company called Abt Associates has turned up in Baghdad to give "Ministry of Health Technical Assistance" support to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and "rapid response grants to address health needs in-country". It has decreed that all medical equipment must accord with US technical standards and modifications-which means that all new hospital equipment must come from America, not from Europe. And then there's the mobile phones. Just over a week ago, my roaming Lebanese cellular pinged into life at midnight and, after a few hours of scrambled voice communication, picked up mobile companies in Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain (depending on where you happened to be in Baghdad). Less than a week later, however, the Americans ordered the system shut down because the Bahrain operating company, by opening its service so early, was supposedly not giving other bidders a fair chance at the contract. Those other companies are largely American.

    Of course, Iraqis protest at much of this. They protest in the streets, especially against the aggressive American military raids, and they protest in the press. Much good does it do them. When ex-Iraqi soldiers demonstrated outside Bremer's office at the former Presidential Palace, US troops shot two of them dead. When Falujah residents staged a protest as long ago as April, the American military shot 16 dead. Another 11 were later gunned down in Mosul. During two demonstrations against the presence of US troops near the shrine of Imam Hussein at Karbala last weekend, US soldiers shot dead another three. "What a wonderful thing it is to speak your own minds," Lt-Gen Sanchez said of the demonstrations in Iraq last week. Maybe he was exhibiting a black sense of humour.

    All this might be incomprehensible if one forgot that the whole illegal Iraqi invasion had been hatched up by a bunch of right-wing and pro-Israeli ideologues in Washington, and that Bremer- though not a member of their group--fits squarely into the same bracket. Hence Paul Wolfowitz, one of the prime instigators of this war-he was among the loudest to beat the drum over the weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist-is now trying to deflect attention from his disastrous advice to the US administration by attacking the media, in particular that pesky, uncontrollable channel, Al-Jazeera. Its reports, he now meretriciously claims, amount to "incitement to violence"-knowing full well, of course, that Bremer has officially made "incitement to violence" an excuse to close down any newspaper or TV station he doesn't like.

    Indeed, newspapers that have offended the Americans have been raided by US troops in the same way that the Americans have conducted raids on the offices of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, whose leader, Ayatollah Mohammed al-Hakim, is a member of the famous Interim Council-not exactly a bright way to keep a prominent Shia cleric on board.

    But the Council itself is already the subject of much humour in Baghdad, not least because its first acts included the purchase of cars for all its members; a decision to work out of a former presidential palace; and-this the lunatic brainchild of the Pentagon-supported and convicted fraudster Ahmed Chalabi-the declaring of a national holiday every 9 April to honour Iraq's 'liberation" from Saddam.

    This sounds fine in America and Britain. What could be more natural than celebrating the end of the Beast of Baghdad? But Iraqis, a proud people who have resisted centuries of invasions, realised that their new public holiday would mark the first day of their country's foreign occupation. "From its very first decision," an Iraqi journalist told me with contempt, "the Interim Council de-legitimised itself." And so there has begun to grow the faint but sinister shadow of a different kind of "democracy" for Iraq, one in which a new ruler will have to use a paternalistic rule-moderation mixed with autocracy. a la Ataturk -to govern Iraq and allow the Americans to go home. Inevitably, it has been one of the American commentators from the same failed lunatic right as Wolfowitz-Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum think tank, which promotes American interests in the region-to express this in its most chilling form. He now argues that ''democratic-minded autocrats can guide [Iraq] to full democracy better than snap elections''. What Iraq needs, he says, is "a democratically-minded [sic] strongman who has real authority", who would be "politically moderate" but "operationally tough" (sic again).

    Of course, it's difficult to resist a cynical smile at such double standards, although their meaning is frightening enough. What does "operationally tough" mean, other than secret policemen, interrogation rooms and torturers to keep the people in order- which is exactly what Saddam set up when he took power, supported as he was at the time by the US and Britain? What does "strongman" mean other than a total reversal of the promise of "democracy" which Bush and Tony Blair made to the Iraqi people?

    Democracies are not led by autocrats, and autocrats are not led by anyone but themselves. The Pipes version of the strongman democracy, by the way, involves the withdrawal of American troops to '`military bases away from population centres" where they "serve as the military partner of the new government [sic] guaranteeing its ultimate security..." In other words, US forces would hide in the desert to avoid further casualties unless it was necessary to storm back to Baghdad to get rid of the "strongman" if he failed to obey American orders.

    But today Bremer is the strongman, and under his rule US troops are losing hearts and minds by the bucketful with each new, blundering and often useless raid against the civilians of Iraq. Still obsessed with capturing-or, rather, killing-Saddam, they are destroying any residual affection for them among the population. On a recent operation in the town of Dhuluaya, for example, two innocent men were killed and the Americans' Iraqi informer-originally paraded before those he was to betray in a hood to keep his identity secret-was executed by his own father. The enterprising newspaper Iraq Today found that the "intelligence" officers of the 4th Infantry Division even left behind mug shots, aerial reconnaissance photographs and secret operational documents-complete with target houses and briefing notes-at the scene. The paper, in the true tradition of journalism, gleefully published the lot, including the comment of the father of Sabah Salem Kerbul, the young informer who worked for the Americans during "Operation Peninsula Strike". He shot his son first in the foot and then in the head. "I have killed him," he said. "But he is still a part of my heart."

    Indeed, anarchic violence is now being embedded in Iraqi society in a way it never was under the genocidal Saddam. Scarcely a day goes by when I do not encounter the evidence of this in my daily reporting work in Baghdad. Visiting the Yarrnouk hospital in Baghdad on Monday to seek the identity of civilians killed by American troops in Mansur the previous day, I came across four bodies Iying out in the yard beside the building in the 50C heat.

    All had been shot. No one knew their identities. They were all young, save one who might have been a middle-aged man, with a hole in his sock. Three days earlier, on a visit to a local supermarket, I noticed that the woman cashier was wearing black. Yes, she said, because her brother had been murdered a week earlier. No one knew why.

    In a conversation with my driver's father--who runs a photocopying shop near Bremer's palace headquarters--a young man suddenly launched into praise for Saddam Hussein. When I asked him why, he said that his father's new car had just been stolen by armed men. Trying to contact an ex-prisoner illegally held by the Americans at his home in a slum suburb of Baghdad, I drove to the mukhtar's house to find the correct address. The mukhtar is the local mayor. But I was greeted by a group of long-faced relatives who told me that I could not speak to the mukhtar--because he had been assassinated the previous night.

    So, if this is my experience in just the past four days, how many murders and thefts are occurring across Baghdad--or, indeed, across Iraq? Only two days ago, for example, five men accused of selling alcohol were reportedly murdered in Basra. Again, there was no publicity, no official statement, no death toll from the CPA. Only a few days ago, I sat in the conference hall that the occupation authorities use for their daily press briefings, follies that are used to condemn "irresponsible reporting", but which record only a fraction of the violence of the previous 24 hours- violence which, of course, is well known to the authorities.

    And there was a disturbing moment when Charles Heatley, the British spokesman from the Foreign Office, appointed by Tony Blair at the behest of Alastair Campbell, talked about the reports of abduction and rape in Iraq. He acknowledged that there had been some cases, but then-I enjoyed the beautiful way in which he tried to destroy any journalistic interest in this terrible subject -talked about the number of "rumours" that turned out to be untrue when checked out. But this is not the experience of The Independent, which in just one day recently discovered the identity of one young woman who had been kidnapped, raped and then freed--only to attempt suicide three times at her home. Another family gave the paper a photograph of their abducted daughter in the hope that it might be printed in the Iraqi press.

    Why don't the occupation authorities realise that Iraq cannot be "spun"? This country is living a tragedy of epic proportions, and now-after its descent into hell under Saddam-we are doomed to suffer its contagion. By our hubris and by our lies and by our fantasies-including the fantasies of Tony Blair-we are descending into the pit.

    For the people of Iraq, the next stage in their long suffering is under way. For us, a new colonial humiliation, the like of which may well end the careers of George Bush and Tony Blair, is coming. Of far more consequence is that it is likely to end many innocent lives as well.

  7. I do not recall quoting Mr Fisk at the BC, back in the day, but I would/ should have.

    It echoes what I had been saying, at BC for a "Long Time".
    I think Mr Bremmer did a poor job, thought so at the time, as did Mr Fisk. I think the US Military has done a poor job in Iraq, overall.

    To much of the country is "unsecure". Entire cities in the north and west. As well as in the south are not under "Federal" control. Heck it Kurdistan the Iraqi flag does not fly. Though stability exists in Kurdistan.

    There are only two Administration members that will have gone the distance in the Iraqi game. Mr Bush and Mr Cheney. All the other spear bearers have rotated out. Some of the Military leaders will have gone the distance in Iraq as well. They share at least as much, if not more of the blame than the rotating Civilians.

  8. Glad to know that the Kitty Hawk and it's crew could be written off so easily, here at the Bar.

    The Sailors on the Hawk not nearly as important as those on the Reagan. I'll hold that close to my heart, secure in the knowledge that the really important Sailors are safe.

    Does not the Navy realize that Force Protection has to be the priority mission in todays' Washington PC?
    Maybe that is why Force Protection advocates lost in the last election, especially in VA.
    Did the majority of those voters, there in VA, agree with rufus on Defense matters. That there are missions that are more important than Force Protection.

  9. L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer, terrorism expert.
    I pointed out the other day in a post that "book expert'n" and "do'in expert'n" don't come close to each other.
    Now I don't know "Jerry's" entire cirriculum vitae but did it include any "do'in expert'n" or was he a beltway "book experter?"
    I'm bett'n he's a booker

    Now ya see TR and Winston were doer's in their youth. I mean real heavy duty doer's not REMF kinda doer's. That's an overarching reason why when the chips were down, the going gets tough, the breaks are beat'n the boys, the shit hits the fan,and the souffle don't rise, they were so good at do'in. They had experience,real life experience. Do'in experience.
    Problem is this here country is runn'in out of doers, and those we have know the smakes in politics are really slimy.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. O/T Ash,thought I'd throw in some advice for ya. Your mincing pusillanemous style doesn't lend itself to you using the phrase "blowback".
    Conjures up some ugly images, but if you can choke it down just keep it up for your friends anyway.

  12. BTW,
    Wrethchard needs to change the linen on the bed over there. I can see some pretty big critters crawl'in all over that infested thread.

  13. C-4 is taking over the BC agenda.

  14. Good morning Trish. I hope your own computer is in better repair today.
    Perhaps you'll feel more like responding to the questions we were discussing.
    Have a nice day.
    Your friend Habu

  15. 2164th wrote:

    C-4 is taking over the BC agenda.

    The BC agenda, sir, is what the current commentators on BC make it. The same goes for the EB, or any blog, netforum, newsgroup, or chatroom. The answer is to provide counter-arguments instead of jibber-jabbing about so-and-so really being runtchard or posting links to acres of decidedly work-unsafe female flesh.

  16. T, I do not like surprise links that go to sites that some people would find objectionable. I do not agree with everything that gets posted here. Wretchard has the same problem. This site works best when people are free to discuss the topic at hand or introduce their own. I have no interest in being a monitor. The chit chat is what people who come here want to do and it is silly to try and dictate otherwhise. It is the normal way people talk to each other.

    I am the architect of record, but I have little control of what takes place under the roof. I do not want that control. I have stated on numerous occasions that I prefer civiil discourse. Whit is in complete agreement with me on that subject as well, but we are adults and do not need to be herded.

    My comment about C-4 is an observation that I believe. It is not meant to provoke.

  17. I do not expect people to agree with everything I post. I prefer the creative process of intelligent and well argued disagreement.

  18. I cannot think of any person on this site that I have not had some heated disagreement with, but in having that I have learned something from all of them, including occasions where I have been dead wrong and should have been a little more civil with my retort.

  19. 2164th wrote:

    I do not expect people to agree with everything I post. I prefer the creative process of intelligent and well argued disagreement.

    I actually enjoy discord in my discourse...every chatroom that tosses out dissenters ends up being dull beyond belief. However, I find being called another person (ie. "T" or "Runtchard") is extremely annoying, because there can be no defense, and when someone insists on doing it, I have and will permanently cut that person off, even if they were previously very very cool, like Bobalharb.

  20. C4 is bringing out the actuarial approach to our alliance with Israel. This strikes some chords, if you notice. I think it's short-sighted, for a whole buncha reasons, both spiritual and practical. Wait--could spiritual and practical be the same thing?

    rat, all that rufus was saying about Kitty Hawk is that the top-line carriers had more force-protection assets. Nobody ever said a thing about consigning the sailors to davy jones' locker. Unless I missed something somewhere.

  21. WC, as uyou shall see in the upcoming Waxman hearings, Halliburton's famous no-bid contracts were the result of certain types of projects, Hal pretty much has a monopoly on the capacity to execute them in any sort of timely and efficient manner. You should look into it. Go with the facts, not with the fun.

  22. Hey Water Closet
    dis ain't no PC wurk place so take your ...hey when do you work? Are you slack'n on the taxpayer?

    any dis ones fo you Water Closet


  23. Oh, does that doll ever need to retire!

  24. My wi-fi crapped out on me yesterday, right in the middle of all the arguing on several threads & sites. Rather than burrow back into the give-n-take, let me instead announce a free-floating, one-size-fits-all, insult to everyone who disagrees with me on anything.

    The Army of Davids is down to the last bullet as the forces of MSM mop up the last few twitching bodies, and we need to use that bullet on ourselves, lest the Comanch hang us upside down over a slow mesquite fire and bake our brains.

  25. Did I hear a cry go up for a babe not a rust bucket.
    Well I'm buck'n the boss and Water Closet on this since they agreed that pin -ups had no place on a blog but guts no glory...


    WOW x 2

  26. well, it's up to history, now, anyway. I have no idea whether the guy was a total f-up, or whether he just failed and has to take the NKVD bullet in the neck.

  27. of course i could put up a disclaimer when i did post a pin up hey Water Closet I thought you likee babes?

    that's what i'll do a disclaimer.


  28. Buddy,
    Didn't you feast in the proper PC way?

  29. Yes, but it's my ex-mother-in-law, don't know where you found her pic. But it sent me back to my novel, "Under the Grandstand", by Seymour Butz.

  30. Good essay. It's what rat has been saying for some time now. I don't know what to think. Backing the people on the spot is almost always the right thing to do. Dunno. Just do not know.

  31. habu_1,

    As a one time commenter at the BC, where class is gas, I was deeply offended by your first link. "WOWx2" is more like it. That being said, I have yet to calculate the degree of my personal offense; therefore, in the interest of science, post more links for further study. The report will be in the mail.

    For the shortsighted, pseudo-prigs who mock the seriousness of this blog, making comparisons to the BC, at one point not long ago, Wretchard had Playboy as an advertiser. Hmmm...

    You can take a woman out of the closet, but cannot take the gratuitous bitch out of the woman. Nature will prevail.

    (Disclaimer: the opinions of the alter ego are not necessarily those of the author.)

  32. buddy,

    re: generals

    Check out the pedigrees. The damage caused by the Clinton administration permeates all levels of the Federal bureaucracy. This is why some of us ventured to hope that Mr. Bush understood this in 2000 and would order a general cleansing of the ranks.

    If the generals were not chosen directly by Hillary, they were nominated by generals who had passed the muster of Field Marshal Clinton. What works for judges also applies to flag officers.

  33. Allen..will do

    Also a great link and it just defies logic. DR's mentioned it. I've alluded to it in remarks about more generals going to charm school than learning warfare.
    I'd love to know the cirriculum they do teach at West Point now.
    It appears that the bull shit has gotten so deep around the general staff that they can't see (well now I'm stuck,cause I can't say shit, that would be a contradiction) Anyway they have learned the art of twist and turn and the wormy squirm but they can't kill the enemy who is outnumbered and outgunned. I guess these generals all subscribe to this shit thinking cause none of them are resigning in protest..gutless wonders.

  34. Buddy,
    It is disheartening to know good young men and women are being lead by generals with such a nuanced approach that killing to win is off the table, AND that they believe this is the way it's gonna be for some time..what, like fifty years?
    I don't know either Buddy.

  35. buddy,

    One of the most frustrating things about last Tuesday is the realization that most of the damage done, particularly that of the MSM, was foreseeable and, therefore, predictable. On the whole, then, the Republicans’ injuries were self-inflicted. Although a thrashing gives some men cause for pause, the Republican leadership seems to be about doing the same old thing, hoping for different results. Twelve years in the wilderness may disabuse them of that unjustified sense of self-importance.

    Returning a moment to the generals, a Washington insider like Mr. Bush should have known that a basket full of rattlesnakes is no safer in the church than anywhere else. For all his many, manifest flaws, Mr. Clinton understood the use of the dagger.

  36. read somewhere that Iraqi fecundity is on the dramatic rise, over the Saddam era. That's a bedrock "hope" metric.

  37. rufus,

    You have to assume if the metrics were "good" they would be shouted far and wide. The President can sneeze and get news coverage. In this war, that holds true for the Defense Secretary as well.

    Yesterday, Commandant Hagee retired. His out processing press interview, like that of General Sanchez three weeks ago, was unflattering to the administration.

  38. well it has been a raw power struggle between the probable-over-optimist-about-human-nature prez, and the rule-or-ruin oppo, to see who could create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Leaders get the noose, those who refused to follow live to fight another day.

    "Deserve's" got nothing to do with it, as clint eastwood said.

  39. General Hagee hails from Fredericksburg, Texas. I highly recommend a visit.

  40. Allen, the Nimitz Museum there has become maybe the finest WWII/Pacific museum west of the Smithsonian. It IS worth a visit. Ollie North has filmed several of his tv shows there.

  41. that Is a good article. I kind of felt like this latest was getting into, like, if the highway patrol went down the street and arrested the sheriff's office. damndest mess imaginable.

    Don't miss Publius today, rufus--"the Mind of Hugo" entry.

  42. rufus said:

    Maliki said the "Kidnapping" was part of a power struggle (my phraseology,) not "Terrorism."

    I suppose when they torture and execute the kidnappees that will just be in-office politics. Well! I'm so relieved.

  43. rufus said:

    Halliburton is making a whopping 2% profit on operations in Iraq.

    If profit percentages are calculated by dividing revenues by costs, what's $2 billion divided by zero?

  44. Good sitye, for unbiased HAL info, WC. How about next we read about the dangers of dust on the Oreck Vacuum Cleaner Company's site?

  45. rufus, what just happened is the S&P resistance @ 1390 busted, and black boxes all went off.

    but, risk/reward is agreeing with that 'lighten up'. I say, roughly, take half of anything you got a big gain in, off the table.

    Good advice I'm not taking, tho. Gotta ride on to Easy Street (because, as Fred Sanford said, "that's where the po' house is located").

  46. habu, you ain't in the sauce, is you?

  47. rufus, yes it has. Italy just signed a government-to-Gazprom long-term gas deal. Expect the Italians to lean Russia for 30 years or so.

  48. Where, when, and on what days does Mat go poopie,
    (and how much longer does he have to live?)
    There is a natural bluff about 1,000 yards northwest of Qumran, blocking the view of the area behind it. The soil there, he said, "looked different" from that around it.

    Eventually, Tabor and Joe E. Zias of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an expert on ancient latrines, went to the site and took samples from the area and from other areas.

    "The earth was so nice and soft, while the rest of the desert was very hard," Zias said. "In fact, I broke my pick collecting control samples from the other areas."

    Zias sent samples to Stephanie Harter-Lailheugue of the CNRS Laboratory for Anthropology in Marseille, France. She found preserved eggs and other remnants of roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and pinworms, all human intestinal parasites.

    Samples from the surrounding areas contained no parasites, while a sample from the stable area of the settlement contained a species of animal worms.

    "The evidence shows conclusively that the area was a toilet," Zias said.

    Had the waste been dumped on the surface, as is the practice of Bedouins in the area, the parasites would have quickly been killed by sunlight. Buried, they could persist for a year or longer, infecting anyone who walked through the soil.

    The situation was made worse by the fact that the Essenes had to pass through an immersion cistern, or miqvot, before returning to the settlement. The water would have served as a breeding ground for the parasites.

    The ritual cleansing "is a total immersion, which means that it gets in your ears, in your eyes and in your mouth," Zias said. "It is not hard to imagine how sick everyone must have been."

    The sickness is reflected in the Qumran cemetery, which had been partially excavated previously.

    "The graveyard at Qumran is the unhealthiest group I have ever studied in over 30 years," Zias said.

  49. rufus said...
    Thank God for Habu.

    3:55 PM, November 14, 2006

  50. Wretch read Bremmer's BS and believed some of it.
    Tigerhawk listened to Madeline and actually believed her.
    Maybe some people with too much education have too much education?

  51. doug, i read about a similar dig near the Holy City of Kumquat.

  52. DJIA 12,216.73 +84.85 +0.70%

    Nasdaq 2,430.08 +23.70 +0.98%

    S&P 500 1,393.33 +8.91 +0.64%

    Dow Util 449.20 -0.63 -0.14%

    NYSE 8,881.53 +57.55 +0.65%

    AMEX 1,988.30 +8.40 +0.42%

    Russell 2000 784.67 +12.26 +1.59%

    Semcond 479.12 +10.59 +2.26%

    Gold future 625.30 -0.50 -0.08%

    30-Year Bond 4.66% -0.04 -0.94%

    10-Year Bond 4.57% -0.04 -0.80%

  53. Federalize Ford's Healthcare!

  54. I'm confused--is this mkt just too BIG to be Dem-f88ked?

  55. What's good for Hillarycare is good for the country.

  56. How do you make money in markets thinking there is a connection between the Headlines and the markets?

  57. Good point. You should be an investment devisor.

  58. In prisons:
    I make little piles out of big ones.

  59. It could be that on the healthcare issue, we need to rollover, and let 'em do it?

  60. That would be PC for Sure:
    Brokeback Healthcare.

  61. it HAS worked well--in some countries, no one DARES to get sick. Look at Koober.

  62. '72
    Reagan's back in 4 years.

  63. Er, Ford.
    Free Healthcare for all,
    except Poland.

  64. Consistency is irrelevant to progressives.

  65. Good point--it is true, 99 was a naked bubble, unprotected by P/E ratios, or even earnings at all in mant cases. This mkt has downside protection on the P/Es. Todays PPI number was the largest interval decline in 13 years. The fundies are saying, $70 oil shoulda kilt earnings, and now that it didn't, we are free to increase the multiples--esp with such PPI numbers holding off the rate hawks.

  66. you mean, '76, Reagan's back in 4.

  67. '72, pore old Nick Dixon was incoming, ready to get watergated.

  68. Realism promotes short-term gain, often at the expense of long-term security
    With hindsight, it is clear that Mr. Rumsfeld's handshake with Saddam backfired. While it may have constrained Iran in the short-term, its blowback in terms of blood and treasure has been immense.

    Why then do so many progressives then celebrate the return of realism? The reasons are multifold. First, having allowed personal animosities to dominate their ideology, they embrace change, regardless of how it impacts stated principles. Hatred of Mr. Rumsfeld became a principle in itself. Likewise, the same progressives who disparage John Bolton seldom explain why they feel forcing the U.N. to account for its inefficiencies or stick to its founding principles is bad. They complain not of his performance, but rather of his pedigree.
    Second is a tendency to conflate analysis with advocacy. Progressives find themselves in a situation where they both embrace realism but deny reality. An Oct. 13 Chronicle of Higher Education article regarding a Columbia University professor's attacks on Azar Nafisi, author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran," highlighted the issue: "The conundrum, say these \[Middle East studies\] scholars, is how to voice opposition to the actions of the Islamic Republic without being co-opted by those who seek external regime change in Iran through a military attack." By embracing a canard, intellectuals convinced themselves of the nobility of ignoring evidence. Thus, Western feminists march alongside Islamists who seek their subjection while progressive labor activists join with Republican realists to ignore Tehran's attacks on bus drivers seeking an independent union, even as a Gdansk-type movement offers the best hope for peaceful change in Iran.

    Both realism and progressivism have become misnomers. Realists deny reality, and embrace an ideology where talk is productive and governments are sincere. While 9/11 showed the consequences of chardonnay diplomacy, deal-cutting with dictators and a band-aid approach to national security, realists continue to discount the importance of adversaries' ideologies and the need for long-term strategies. And by embracing such realism, progressives sacrifice their core liberalism. Both may celebrate Mr. Rumsfeld's departure and the Baker-Hamilton recommendations, but at some point, it is fair to ask what are the lessons of history and what is the cost of abandoning principle.
    Michael Rubin

  69. It'll work fine, rufus, if only we tariff all foreign competition back into the 30s.

  70. Merry Oldsmobiled,
    Good to have constants like
    Ted Kennedy

  71. I like naked bubbles.
    Specially when she's purty.

  72. and convince Joe Sixpack to buy lots of $40K Dodge Darts.

  73. Iraq falling to pieces is probably tragically necessary. Like the god-fearing "Black" explained in Cormac McCarthy's "The Sunset Limited," Iraq may have fallen down so low that its ready to take a big step.

    Maybe itll get so rotten that itll look like the Sudan with greater media penetration. There's no endgame there but hopeless gnashing of teeth, a parable to those who will listen.

    But maybe Iraqis will be spooked into action.

    News reports of the audacious and complex kidnapping include reports of a subsequent round-up - 5 police officers last time I heard. Where the investigation goes may be instructive on the state of the monopoly of violence in the country.

    As the presumptuous American enterprises in Iraq instruct, faith and hope are guiding lights, and they are all one has that the Iraqi can fend for himself.

    Even if Bremmer hadn't disbanded the army, the Iraqi would have to fend for himself, somewhere, some day down the line. Against an entire dysfunctional region, stable only by imposed fear and formalized brutality, the Iraqi has to fight.

    If the Iraqi did not fight for something Iraqi, then you would witness exactly what we see now. If there is an end-game to OIF, its the Iraqis pursuing their own security by local and regional means, knowing they cannot rely upon us indefinitly - nor should they.

    Iraq has to play out what were seeing, doesn't it? Cynicism downplays the significance of what's being "decided" in Iraq.

  74. rufus wrote:

    "We get the Whole World excited about Capitalism, and Trading, and then we elect the damned idiots, and they pull the plug on the whole thing."

    ummm rufus, the dems may have won some seats but they haven't had a chance to make use of them. While I'm an ardent free trader I can't see how you can pin that Vietnam trade vote on the dems recently elected.

  75. Foofus, this one's for you:
    The Eco-Advantage

    Introducing the Green 50, a collection of entrepreneurial companies that are showing what it means to run good businesses, attack the most pressing problems of our time--and make serious cash along the way.
    ...I like the urea in the bus tailpipes.
    Hell, we could hire Frat Boys.

  76. Hey Rufus, I'm in that "idiot" group. If you are going to allow open trade with foreign nations, you must first level the playing field with your own citizens. Domestic manufacturers, farmers, etc. are handcuffed by tighter laws and regulations. To make them compete against those who do not play by the same rules simply forces them to close down or move out of country. In the interest of national security, food production and manufacturing should be encouraged to stay within the borders of the US. Tarriffs and other taxes are the best way to ensure this happens.

  77. rufus said:

    ...every time tariffs are enacted (think 1929) Bad things happen (depression, high unemployment, etc.)

    That's funny, China has an average tariff rate in automobiles of 20.9 percent, agriculture of 18.0 percent, and textiles of 15.2 percent, and their economy is going like gangbusters, primarily because their container ships are coming here full and going there empty.

  78. doug said:

    That would be PC for Sure:
    Brokeback Healthcare.

    Which includes a subsidy for chiropractors, ironically.

  79. PRC is only now beginning to found a central banking system. The Dollar has been their link to currency respectability. We've been their banker. Both nations have prospered in the relationship. The ChiCom military is a bad worry, but there is a huge, really tremendous amount of economic investment on both sides, in each other's success.

    yes, WC, I realize that the strategy of tying up potentially bellicose regimes with mutually-advantageous trade and investment is a gamble. But, there they were, all 2 billion of 'em, and here we are--and we ain't going anywhere, neither one of us. Maybe we can make world war too expensive, world peace too profitable.

  80. i will admit, i'm not quite as gung-ho on the wisdom of the Great Master Plan as I was not so long ago. I'm still good on the principles--it's the changing cast of characters what is beginning to sweat me a bit. On and off free-trade is pusillanimous, being tied to the USA election cycle makes planning pretty tough--see Publius' misery lately. Bipartisan foreign policy is like the water in the well you don't miss til it runs dry.